Re: A brief re-introduciton of sort

On Thu, 30 Nov 1995 13:43:58 -0700 (MST) you wrote:

>Hi All,
>interesting concept: What if the term 'post-structuralist' is actually a
>misnomer which somehow misses the point of what is actually a
>post-phenomenological impetus which occures not only in Foucault, but in
>Deleuze and Guattari, Derrida and Lyotard as well? There's at least an
>interesting line to be followed within the history of the the critique of
>subjectivity where the phenomenological subject begins to unfold from
>itself. This line can be traced from Husserl, where subjectivity still
>maintains a unity; to Levinas' bifurcation of subjectivity into the same
>and the other; and then to Merleau-Ponty's slight declination of the
>self/other pair from one another; and finally on to Foucault et al where
>subjectivity gets fragmented to dofferent degrees, and with different
>effects, according to an historic, machinic, and semiotic force. Anyway,
>it might be a concept that's fun to play with.


I agree that post-structuralism is a not so useful badge. Phenomenology is
more important a legacy because of the insistance of the non-discursive
practices (which do not really exist as such for structuralism).
Especially the importance of the visual. Reading F. as someone who doesn't
believe in existence and "believes" that the world is a side-effect of
language seems to be a gesture of analytical philosophy. However, telling a
story about the gradual desintegration of subjectivity may be a problematic
project in its own way. Was it ever integrated? Maybe we should talk about
different forms of "coding".
I am especially perplexed by the question of semiotics, and perhaps
someone would want to comment on that. Semiotic analysis (and
structuralism) begins with the difference between the signifier and the
signified, (or the sign and the mind-image of the refferent - it seems
there is a constant blurring between what De Saussure called signified and
the image of the refferent). There is a repeated claim that the signified
is never present, that we are caught in the play of the signifier. As far
as I understand F. he opposed this whole notion of signification. he spoke
of language as always describing a space, a set of objects ands speakers.
The question for him would be how is this space articulated in relation to
other spaces, made through non signifying practices, and not how does words
hook on objects. I think this is where the question of the subject comes
in, because in semiotics, the subject is the privileged place required for
the signifying process (the mental image), in a post-structuralist like
Lacan, the subject is an effect of the split between signifier and
signified (the barred subject). But for F. signification (and the
signifier) is a proprety of language itself, like grammer. So that
subjuctivity is not a linguistic phenomenon; it involves language, but it
involves many other things. I am getting too lenghty so let me stop here .
Gabriel Ash


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